Managing a massage therapy practice can be challenging; especially when some, or all, of your therapists are independent workers that get paid by appointment.
To confuse matters further, each therapist has their personal schedule, and often a schedule at another clinic or spa to accommodate.
So how do you ensure your business runs smoothly under these awkward conditions all while being professional in the eye of the customer?
Luckily, there are a wide range of cloud-based software applications that can help you manage your massage clinic more efficiently, and boost results. In particular, online scheduling applications have tons of useful features that streamline the appointment booking process between you, your receptionist, and your Massage Therapists.
Here’s a list of 4 pain points commonly faced by massage clinic owners and things you should look for when choosing a scheduling application.
1. Managing Your Therapists Sporadic Schedules
Massage therapists are frequently hired as independent contractors on an appointment basis and only come in when they are booked.
As you may not be able to provide them with enough appointments, often times they will also work for themselves and/or another massage practice. Knowing when they are available to work can be an overwhelming task.
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
- The therapist isn’t actually available on the given date and time, you must then scramble to find another therapist to fill the already booked appointment.
- You may have no choice but to call back the client and embarrassingly ask to reschedule the appointment if he or she absolutely wanted the specific therapist or you cannot find a therapist for that slot.
- The therapist may just, not show up if there is a conflict in his or her schedule that you were not aware of.
Making sure you know if and when a therapist is available to work is essential.
Many scheduling applications allow you to configure a regular, recurring weekly staff schedule.
However, you should also inquire whether it is possible to program irregular and/or upcoming schedules.
It is also a huge time saver if therapists can update their own schedules through their unique user login for last minute changes to specific calendar dates.
2. Educating Your Therapists About the Client While Protecting Your Client List
From talking to massage therapy business owners, it is clear that protecting client data is a tremendous concern as therapists need to easily access data to better serve clients.
However, depending on the employment relationship, (and depending on rules and regulations with your specific college) therapists may not have the right to solicit clients post employment and/or automatically walk out with client files.
You can therefore take steps to ensure therapists don’t just leave with your entire client list including phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Even when therapists are not employees, you can protect data and ensure confidentiality of personal information by limiting access to their patients only – not the entire clinic’s database (again, depending on rules and regulations in your area).
Some features to look for in a software that help protect your client data:
- Make sure you can create different types of users with different levels of access and privileges.
- Absolutely make sure only administrators can export your client database.
- If allowing therapists to book their own appointments, see if you can limit client database access to their clients only.
- See if you can also hide client info like telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.
- Verify if there are any logs available to track general user actiity.
And DO NOT SHARE YOUR ACCOUNT OWNER ACCESS with any of your staff.
Take the time to create an additional profile for your receptionists and therapists. This makes it easier to terminate access to your client data when someone leaves.
3. Enabling Therapists to Manage Their Own Appointments
If you own a multi-practice clinic whose main services are not massage therapy, but still want to offer massage therapy as an added service without adding to your administrative workload, then empowering your therapists as much as possible can save you a lot of time and make you more money.
Many software applications with different user types include a profile that allows the therapist to book, cancel and/or modify appointments for themselves.
This enables the therapist to fully manage his/her schedule and appointments securely while allowing you to still oversee everything.
In addition, why not encourage a therapist to book the client’s next appointment after their massage treatment has been completed by using a tablet connected to your cloud-based software application.
4. Reducing No-Shows
No-shows are another major issue for any massage therapy business as this leads to lost revenue and idle time for your therapists.
The no-show rate can easily be reduced by implementing a software application that sends out automated appointment reminders.
It is incredible how a simple e-mail or text message reminder sent out a couple of days before the appointment allows clients to inform you in a timely manner of changes to their availability and eliminates forgotten appointments.
Also, stop wasting time calling all your clients to confirm their appointment as many people of today’s generation do not even answer their phone calls.
Instead find a system that lets clients confirm their appointments themselves either by e-mail or text message. Automating appointment confirmations is a great feature giving you and your therapists the certainty that your client will be attending his/her appointment with minimal to no intervention on your part.
Other features that can reduce no-shows include asking for a credit card number or deposit at the time of the booking. If people know they will lose money, they will think twice about skipping out on their appointment.
All in all, if you are still using paper or an outdated software application, look into a web-based appointment booking system. This will allow you to run your business more efficiently and stay connected with your therapists. The entire team will be happier and experience fewer administrative frustrations. Even Massage Therapists need less stress in their lives.
- How to Simultaneously Empower and Manage Your Therapists - December 5, 2016